Brendan Gaughan finished the Subway 500 in the 34th position after experiencing brake issues at Martinsville Speedway. Despite the hardships the team fought during the 500 lap event, Gaughan said the car handled great throughout the day and he felt as though he were driving a top-10 car providing the brake situation were different.
The Kodak/Jasper Racing teamís race started out in typical short-track style. On lap 15, the No. 77 Penske-Jasper powered Dodge was pinched between two competitors. The contact sent the gold Dodge spinning and caused left side damage. Gaughan brought his machine in for service immediately because both left side tires were flat. Shane Wilson instructed the over-the-wall crew to provide two tires to the left side only and when Gaughan came to a stop, the entire pit crew lifted the car to aide the jackman. With both tires flat on the left side, the jack would not fit under the car without the additional assistance.
Once his machine received the left side tires, Gaughan rejoined the field and pitted once more for fuel and right side tires. The effort kept Gaughan on the lead lap and in contention.
Gaughanís attempt to move to the front of the field continued when the green flag was displayed on lap 23. He climbed from 40th to the 33rd position before the next caution flag was displayed on lap 40. When asked for feedback on the carís handling, Gaughan replied, ďThe car is good. Tight for the first couple of laps, but then it is neutral. I am just trying to be patient.Ē
Wilson instructed Gaughan to come down pit road on lap 42 and the team performed a four-tire stop with fuel and no adjustments. When the field received the green flag again, Gaughan continued to praise the team for the carís handling. Unfortunately, Gaughan was never able to move the No. 77 Dodge higher than the 22nd position due to the racing conditions at Martinsville; the track is notorious for brake wear and tear and difficult passing.
By lap 161 Gaughan informed the team that the car felt as though he had overworked the carís brakes while trying to pass another competitor. A few laps later, he told Wilson the brake pedal had gone straight to the floor and he had to pump the pedal on the frontstretch to build up pressure for the turns.
With the braking conditions continually worsening, Wilson asked Gaughan to keep the wheels turning until he felt it absolutely necessary to pull into the garage for repairs. Gaughan obliged and maintained his machine on the track, though faltering positions along the way.
The Kodak/Jasper Racing team took advantage of a long caution around lap 182 to cool the brakes. NASCAR had instructed the trackís cleanup crew to use a brush in the turns to break up the marbles, or spent rubber from the carís tires; this service was followed immediately by a blower to improve the trackís racing conditions. Shortly after the green flag on lap 202, Gaughan again commented on the braking situation.
On lap 256, Gaughan informed Wilson it was time to address the brakes, and Wilson told him to pull into the garage. After replacing the rotors, brake pads and fluids, the team took their time to prepare the brake lines by bleeding the air out. Following meticulous preparation, Gaughan returned to the track after succumbing 76 laps to the leaders.
When the checkered flag fell, Gaughan was posted 34th. His Penske-Jasper powered teammates, Ryan Newman, Rusty Wallace and Travis Kvapil completed the event in the third, 10th and 21st positions.